If so, we’ve discovered one very good one.
Sweet Tea’s Catfish and Blues Co. sits at the corner of Floyd Road and the East-West Connector in Austell. It first caught my attention as we drove past a couple of weeks ago. Sweet tea and blues? We’re talking about two of my favorite things on Earth. I couldn’t wait to give it a try.
Sweet Tea’s is the kind of place I’m proud to make my first restaurant review. It’s a family operation, from executive chef NaShawndra Jackson-Davis and general manager Lawrence Davis, down to their two adorable — I’ll call them junior hosts — aged 3 and 5. Visiting Sweet Tea’s was as much meeting new friends as dining out. And did I mention, new friends who can cook?
This weekend we braved the blizzard (ha!) and set out for a celebratory dinner. The plan was to eat big and hang around to hear the Stella Bass Band, which plays every Friday night. We enjoyed first-class service from start to finish. Friendly staff, delicious food, and a comfy atmosphere made it a night to remember.
This is when you know you’re in for a treat. When we put in our drink orders, our server asked if I minded waiting a few minutes for a fresh batch of tea. You bet I’ll wait! Just-brewed tea is totally worth it. Best part? The sweet and fruity flavors balanced perfectly. None of that, sicky-sweet, sucking melted candy through a straw. We got off to an excellent start.
For dinner, I chose a tamale and catfish combo and Doug tried the ribs. Our sides were sweet potato souffle, homestyle mac and cheese, and green beans. One day I hope we’ll get scent-ernet access. The smells alone would get all y’all on a plane to Georgia tomorrow.
Every dish tasted fantastic. The catfish was juicy but not greasy, and the breading! I bow to its superior crispness. I think we picked the ideal combination of side-dishes too: sweet and smooth potatoes, salty-savory green beans, and creamy mac and cheese. Add to that spicy tamales and ribs and…
(Sorry, just needed a moment.)
My tamales totally earned a paragraph to themselves. They came wrapped in parchment with a mild red sauce. Separate hot sauce let me spice them up to my taste, which, let’s be honest, tends toward fire-breathing. They were so tender they just about melted in my mouth. According to Mr. Davis, the recipe has been in his wife’s family for more than a hundred years. Also, “I married her for those tamales. People think I’m joking…”
Doug’s ribs, which you know I totally scammed off his plate, tasted flat-out delicious. I admit, they weren’t quite what we expected, being accustomed to Kentucky-style smoked ribs. Doug in fact looked a little bit baffled when presented with a ginormous hunk of pork. “I don’t quite know where to start,” he said — but I promise he figured it out soon enough.
I finished with a generous helping of peach cobbler, fresh from the oven. More praise here: sweet but not syrupy peaches, a hint of cinnamon, and a light, tender crust browned to perfection.
Around this time we got the bad news: the band couldn’t make it in because of the rotten weather. I admit, I was disappointed, but it gives me an excuse to really push for another visit soon.
Next time I’m dying to try the gumbo, and maybe some wings. But you bet your life I’ll be hitting up those tamales again. I might just go get some for lunch this week.